Porto’s Casa do Conto or ‘house of tales’ certainly has enough to tell: writings from famed typographers are etched into its ceilings, and a whole new style language after years of renovations, following a fire that gutted the building. What rose again was a six-bedroom city escape with Azulejo-tiled exteriors hinting at its former bourgeoisie building, but starkly stylish Brutalist interiors in muted tones and burnished concrete – a look that reflects the city’s modern mindset, even if you are in the historic centre. Modish interiors aren’t the only thing for art-fiends to feed on – the hotel hosts exhibitions where local talents can display their work. Just one of the ways in which the Casa’s penning a whole new story.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £103.68 (€119), including tax at 6 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include a Continental breakfast and eggs however you like ‘em.
Unfortunately the hotel’s build makes it unsuitable for anyone with mobility issues.
At the hotel
Lounge with free coffee, library, garden, and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, tea-making kit, minibar, bathrobes, slippers, free bottled water, and Castelbel bath products. The AD and AT suites also have small kitchenettes.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms at Casa do Conto have a similar industrial feel, and each has its own tale of Porto’s past, written by six local authors (Filipa Leal, Álvaro Domingues, Jorge Figueira, André Tavares, Pedro Bandeira and Nuno Grande), engraved into the concrete ceilings. But the Suite Residence NG is a favourite for its third-floor views of Porto’s terracotta rooftops from the balcony; decor might be stark and simplistic (in elegant fashion), but the space is flooded with sunlight. The hotel only offers breakfast, so if you’d rather spend evenings in, opt for the AD and AT suites, which both have kitchenettes.
There's no pool, but you're welcome to take a dip in Tipografia's pool – Casa do Conto's sister hotel, a five-minute walk away.
Bring a good pair of shoes and plenty of stamina – you’ll need it for both climbing hilly streets and sipping leagues of port.
Each room name is followed by a set of initials that pay homage to the six authors who wrote the stories etched into the suites’ ceilings.
Little Smiths are welcome, but there isn’t much to keep them entertained at the hotel.
Go alfresco and hang out the hotel’s small gardens, or on your balcony if you’re staying in the Suite Residence NG.
A bare-minimal look to blend coolly into the Brutalist interiors.
There’s no formal restaurant at Casa do Conto, but a breakfast of fresh pastries and fruit, crepes, yoghurts and eggs is served in the lounge, and staff at reception are more than happy to help with booking tables at nearby restaurants for lunch and dinner. If you’d rather stay in, the AD and AT suites have their own kitchenettes.
The hotel doesn’t have a bar, but you can make use of the champagne, wines and cervejas in your minibar. Plenty of watering-holes surround the hotel too, ask reception staff nicely and they’ll let you in on their favourites.
Breakfast is available from 8am till 11am on the first floor.
There’s no room service at the hotel, but some suites have small kitchenettes for in-suite dining.
Casa do Conto is just outside Porto’s Historic Centre, off the city’s famed Rotunda da Boavista.
Porto’s Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, a 20-minute drive from the hotel, has good direct links throughout Europe, North Africa and the Americas; private transfers can be arranged for €30 each way.
The E-line train to Porto’s main Trindade station takes you straight from the airport to the hotel’s nearest station, Carolina Michaëlis, a five-minute walk away.
A set of wheels isn’t necessary here, as public transport and taxis are so efficient; but if you’re planning on exploring further afield, there are a number of rental booths at the airport.
Worth getting out of bed for
Take a self-guided tour of the hotel’s head-turning artwork, and if you want to see more beyond the Casa do Conto’s confines, Serralves Museum and Ó! Galleria both have impressive shows on throughout the year. Oenophiles might get more of a buzz exploring the Port Wine Museum, or spending the day wine tasting at Graham’s Port Lodge, a sustainable family-run vineyard that’s turned out top tipples for more than 200 years. Adventurous sorts can ride over the Douro River in a Gaia Cable Car and swim along the coast at Leça da Palmeira's Piscina de Marés. Or tune into the city’s musical past at the Casa da Música.
Helmed by chef Rui Mingatos, Flow is known for its Mediterranean-inspired menu, where dishes like cocoa tagliatelle with creamy pistachio and lemon sauce, and seared sea bass with homemade asparagus risotto take centre-stage. Lemon- and orange-infused tiger shrimp and fresh mussels are Meia-Nau’s speciality, while Solar Moinho de Vento offers something a little more comforting by pairing traditional family favourites with wines from Porto’s surrounding vineyards.
Set inside a bookstore filled with vintage classics, Café Candelabro has a menu of light bites and drinks, well serving pit stops.
Capela Incomum has set up shop in a former 19th-century chapel, serving an extensive list of handpicked wines produced in the Douro and Minho regions.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this Brutalist bolthole in Portugal and unpacked their port and sardines in colourful tins, a full account of their sleek city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Casa do Conto in Porto…
Fittingly translating to ‘house of tales’, Casa do Conto had a few under its belt from the get-go after it caught fire days before the original opening. But driven architect-duo Alexandra and Nuno Grande rose up to reform the bourgeois building in a Brutalist style that mimics Porto’s rebirth as a forward-thinking, finger-on-the-pulse city. And though the hotel’s contemporary design may feel a far cry from its original form, its history is echoed subtly in reclaimed corrugated-steel plates, concrete ceilings carved with stories of the past, antique leather furnishings scavenged from around the city, and tables topped with azulejo tiles that originally graced the exterior. Readily reformed and residing in Porto’s emerging Cedofeita neighbourhood, here's hoping Casa do Conto’s tales are finally set in stone.